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SF DocFest: 13th Annual San Francisco Documentary Festival, June 5-19

June 5, 2014

This year at the SF Indiefest’s 13th Anual Docfest, June 5-19, at multiple venues on both sides of the Bay, quite a number of films look at sexual exploitation of youth, crimes of poverty and profiles of superheroes – ordinary citizens with tenacity and inner fortitude and great love for their community, like the Honorable Michael Tubbs, central character in Kevin Gordon’s “True Son.”

Discussing ‘The Young Oscar Micheaux’ wit’ filmmaker Jamie Walker

June 5, 2014

Oscar Micheaux is a name that every Black person who likes cinema, television and webisodes should know because he is one of the earliest Black filmmakers in the United States. His work even pre-dates the Harlem Renaissance. At this year’s San Francisco Black Film Festival, locally based filmmaker Jamie Walker will be presenting her film, “The Young Oscar Micheaux.”

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Robyn Charles’ ‘Fingerprints’ is selected to screen at the SFBFF this month

June 3, 2014

“‘Fingerprints,’ by LA-based filmmaker Robyn Charles, is one of the official selections in this year’s San Francisco Black Film Festival. Robyn outlines the plot: Gregory Marks is a comedian on the rise who does not realize his comedy is a defense mechanism that masks a dark side he unleashes when pursuing an Oscar-worthy performance in a dramatic role that sends him spiraling into madness. ‘Fingerprints’ blurs the line between comedy and tragedy.”

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San Francisco, your poems are eviction notices

May 31, 2014

Dear San Francisco, I have walked the length of your streets, have felt your fog breath in my face, have stood shoulder to shoulder on your buses with the generation that came before and the one before that. I have seen the poetry written in the walls and on the floors of those who gave the city life and nourishment. I have seen you dance and I have seen your streets swallow whole the dreams born on the tongues of poets.

'Rest in Power Dr. Maya Angelou' graphic by Dream Defenders

A woman called Maya

May 29, 2014

Maya Angelou had to be the name of a poet. It is too perfect, too lyrical to fit any other personality. She blazed an incandescent streak across the heavens as the voice of memory – as poet, actress, author and activist. She taught generations of students as an honored professor of literature. As a young woman, she struck the boards as an African dancer. And she was a close friend and colleague of Malcolm X.

The iconic photo of Robert and Mabel Williams in the 1960s – with guns

Tribute to Mabel Robinson Williams (1931-2014): Mabel and Robert F. Williams led a campaign for self-defense that shaped the 1960s

May 28, 2014

Funeral services were held in Detroit on April 25 for Mrs. Mabel Robinson Williams, the widow of African American revolutionary Robert F. Williams. The Williams served as leaders of the Monroe, North Carolina, chapter of the NAACP during the 1950s until early 1961, when they were targeted by local authorities and the FBI. The civil rights organizers became advocates of armed self-defense against racist violence perpetuated by the Ku Klux Klan and law-enforcement personnel in the city.

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Renowned filmmaker Robert Townsend, seated between Kali O’Ray and Jac Taliaferro, is interviewed at the 2012 San Francisco Black Film Festival.

The San Francisco Black Film Festival is back

May 26, 2014

The SF Black Film Festival is one of the film festivals that I most look forward to in the Bay Area every year. This year it is from June 12-15 at various theaters in San Francisco. It was founded by the late Ave’ Montague, and now it’s under the direction of her son, Kali O’Ray. Every year I’ve seen great films that don’t have the promotional budgets to reach a wider audience without the help of a festival like SFBFF.

Jennyselt Galata is a dancer of Afro Cuban Folklore, with great prestige within Cuba and internationally. Here she is (furthest right) with her group Osain del Monte. She invites her mentee Sailen (young girl in front) to perform with her group for the first time and remind her that dreams do come true. – Photo: Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi

Berkeley-based filmmaker Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi releases new film about Cuban musicians, presents Fist Up Film Festival

May 20, 2014

Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi is one of the most prolific filmmakers in the Bay Area when it comes to working with working class people in different nations, most times on different continents, and telling their stories. His films deal with music and social movements in Cuba, Colombia and Ghana. If you are not hip to what he has going on, make sure you check out this interview and check him out at the Fist Up Film Festival. Here is Eli in his own words.

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Mothers of hope

May 11, 2014

No one knows the depth of hurt, pain and depression a mother feels at the news of losing her child. The depression she experiences daily due to the loss of her child fuels, multiplies and heightens her struggle on Mother’s Day.

Fatherhood: Nap time, the phrase no child wants to hear

May 5, 2014

The following information and suggestions are based on my experience as a parent and preschool teacher. From my observations, the formal creation of a specific nap time usually occurs between the ages of 2 and 5 years old. Naps are great for children and adults as well, so why is it that our children see them as a punishment rather than a cheerful opportunity? Let’s start by looking at how naps develop and where the challenges begin.

Harrison Chastang and Rochelle Metcalfe wouldn’t have missed Giants Opening Day April 8 for the world. – Photo: Harrison Chastang

Third Street Stroll …

May 5, 2014

Bayview Hunters Point is the LAST BASTION for Black folks! Progress moves on in one of the city’s best climates to live in. There’s so much housing construction taking place, now once an area no one wanted to move to, Bayview is THE place!
REMEMBER, Bayview Hunters Point is the LAST BASTION for Black folks to get a piece of the action! Housing in San Francisco has become a heated topic – GREED!

Intrepid traveler Harrison Chastang reveled with New Orleanians this month at the New Orleans Jazzfest. This is one of the Casa de Samba dancers. – Photo: Harrison Chastang

Digital undivide: Keep your batteries charged and techies on your board

May 4, 2014

LinkedIn’s Volunteer and Causes program is a good start in the tech industry’s challenge to become better corporate citizens and neighbors at a time when the financial and societal impact of the 21st century tech revolution could have devastating consequences for low income communities and people of color not employed or associated with the tech industry.

Their fascination with a little robot at the STEM College to Career Expo at Fort Mason shows that even the smallest of our children can be the greatest of our scientists. Just ask the Young Lions from the SIMBA-Lion Kings, a manhood training class at Bret Harte Elementary School Afterschool Program, serving the children of Double Rock in Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco, who took a field trip to the expo. – Photo: Lance Burton, Planet Fillmore Communications

Got scientists? Double Rock do!

May 3, 2014

I had the pleasure of escorting a group of boys and young men to a “most excellent” display of the coming opportunities for those who have an affinity for STEM, or Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. Presented by the United Negro College Fund, it was the STEM College to Career Expo at Fort Mason. Where do children of color fit into these four ways of thinking, in regards to the future of America? Right in the center! Yes, right in the middle!

Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano, web

Donald Sterling’s willing enablers

April 29, 2014

Michael Jordan, as an NBA player, owner and cultural force, has always been proudly apolitical. Most famously, he refused to oppose segregationist Jesse Helms in his home state of North Carolina by saying, “Republicans buy sneakers too.” Yet Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist rant has so upended the NBA apple cart that even Jordan is speaking out.

Anasa Yoga teacher Tia Ukpe-Wallace in advanced yoga pose, astavakrasan, which demands strong core, web

Anasa, a Black yoga studio in Oakland: an interview wit’ founders Jean-Marie Moore and Katrina Lashea

April 27, 2014

Yoga has been working miracles on people’s health, peace of mind and flexibility for millenniums. Jean Marie Moore and Katrina LaShea recently opened a yoga studio called Anasa in the Laurel District of East Oakland. Their original goal was to wake Black people up to the health benefits of yoga, so they built it smack-dab in a retail area within Oakland’s Black community. They offer all kinds of classes including yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong – for beginners as well as experienced practitioners.

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'The Bay Area's Brooklyn Bridge' by Chris the Fifth

Author of ‘The Bay Area’s Brooklyn Bridge’ Chris the Fifth speaks from behind enemy lines

April 24, 2014

Local rapper turned author Chris the Fifth is a prime example of how enigmatic and complex this city is. From behind bars, Chris the Fifth recently released his debut street lit novel, “The Bay Area’s Brooklyn Bridge,” which has been taking the streets of Oakland by storm. We are happy to say that we finally got a Q&A with one of the Bay Area’s most prolific writers and underground lyricists. Check Chris the Fifth in his own words …

Redouble our efforts …

April 21, 2014

When our Knights are captured — Or fall on battlefields, as they — Surely must, and we lose their — Brilliant light and we are — Scrambling to pry pens, — Swords, spears, bread and — Roses from stainless steel — Grips of their icy hands – Scrambling to hoist our — Fallen banners, temporarily — Mired in mud and blood, — Even higher, scrambling — To staunch rivulets of — Brine from our sweetly — Shattered hearts …

Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X

‘The Trials of Muhammad Ali’

April 21, 2014

Bill Siegel’s “Trials of Muhammad Ali” shows an evolution of consciousness rarely if ever seen when looking at an iconic figure, in this case the greatest boxer of the 20th century, Muhammad Ali. In this story of Ali, Siegel crafts a tale that without preconception allows his audience an opportunity to enter the Nation of Islam as Cassius Clay did.

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Visual artist Eesuu speaks on his new body of work, ‘Sugar 2.0’

April 18, 2014

Oakland based artist Eesuu has been one of my favorite local visual artists for the last decade. I love his choice of colors and the ways in which he blends them, as well as I like the themes behind his work. He is exhibiting a new body of work during the month of April in downtown Oakland at SoleSpace, 1714 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Called “Sugar 2.0,” it looks at the history of this substance that has been used as a tool to enslave people, colonize land and build empires.

Free performance of ‘Every Five Minutes’ at Laney College Saturday

April 18, 2014

The play “Every Five Minutes” by Scottish writer Linda McLean is an unique look into the effects of solitary confinement on a man named Mo – recently released after 13 years behind bars. Captured by insurgents, he was tortured, denied contact with family or others outside of his captors. The effects of this deprivation are one disorientated man whom we meet at his coming out dinner.

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